Jesus was a leftist?

I will confess that I was a little fuzzy about the definitions of “liberal,” “progressive,” and “leftist” so I ask Perplexity (an AI) and it explained:

The terms “liberal,” “progressive,” and “leftist” represent distinct political identities and ideologies, though they are often used interchangeably in public discourse. Understanding the nuances between them requires examining their historical contexts, philosophical underpinnings, and policy preferences.


Liberals generally embrace values rooted in the Enlightenment, such as individual liberty, freedom of speech, scientific inquiry, separation of church and state, due process, racial equality, women’s rights, human rights, and democracy. They see government as a means to help the people it serves, defending programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act. Liberals are suspicious of large corporations and support government regulation of commerce to benefit citizens. The term “liberal” has evolved over time, and in the U.S., it often refers to those who support a mixed economy, social justice, and progressive social policies2.


Progressives focus on using government power to enforce a set of rules on large institutions and advocate for significant reforms to achieve social equity and environmental sustainability. They differ from traditional liberals not just in the degree of their beliefs but in kind, holding distinct views on equality, diversity, and identity. Progressives are more likely to support policies that mandate diversity and publicly censure discriminatory views. They aim for more radical changes to address systemic issues, such as economic inequality and climate change, and are less inclined towards incrementalism compared to liberals45.


While the term “leftist” is less precisely defined in the sources, it generally refers to individuals or ideologies that are further to the left on the political spectrum than mainstream liberals and progressives. Leftists often advocate for systemic changes to society and the economy, including socialism or communism, to address issues of inequality, capitalism, and imperialism. They may prioritize class struggle and the redistribution of wealth more than liberals or progressives and often seek more radical transformations of society.In summary, while liberals focus on individual rights and government’s role in protecting those rights and ensuring social welfare, progressives push for more significant reforms and systemic changes, particularly regarding social equity and environmental issues. Leftists, though not explicitly defined in the provided sources, typically advocate for more radical changes to address systemic inequalities, often through the lens of class struggle and sometimes embracing socialism or communism.

Perplexity AI

This website was titled without those definitions. Yesterday I was confronted by a thoughtful video that offered the idea that Jesus might be better labeled a leftist. The argument went roughly: A leftist is essentially an anti-capitalist. Was Jesus a capitalist? How did he react to the money changers at the temple? What did he say about rich people getting into Heaven? It concluded that however Jesus might be authentically characterized, it is not “right-wing authoritarian.”

I’ve always been one to say that Jesus was apolitical, and I still think that is reasonable. Jesus talked about Christians being “salt and light.” He said, “my kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world then my followers would fight to keep me from being turned over to you.” Mixing religion and politics has never gone well because politicians only want power, while true Christians want to be servants.

This entry was posted in Jesus' Teaching, Politics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.